Pitt travels to Virginia Tech with both programs searching for positives amid 1-3 starts
(AP) - Pittsburgh (1-3, 0-1 ACC) at Virginia Tech (1-3), Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (ACC Network)
Line: Pitt by 2 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Series tied 11-11.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
A chance at salvaging their respective seasons. The Panthers have dropped three straight since a Week 1 win against overmatched Wofford. The Hokies have followed a similar path, falling to Purdue, Rutgers and — most troublingly — Marshall after beating Old Dominion in the opener. While Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi has earned a little wiggle room in his ninth season with the Panthers, Hokies second-year coach Brent Pry could use a boost that beating Pitt would provide.
Pitt’s offensive line against Virginia Tech’s front seven. The Panthers have used four different line combinations in four games thanks to a mix of injuries and inconsistent play. Given Pitt’s limitations in the passing game — the Panthers are dead last in the ACC in yards passing per game — every drop back needs to be maximized.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Pitt: TE Gavin Bartholomew. Passing the ball has been difficult for the Panthers early in the season no matter who is at quarterback, except when they throw the ball in the direction of Bartholomew. The junior is averaging 24 yards per reception. With the Hokies likely to stack the line of scrimmage to stop Pitt’s running game, Bartholomew could have opportunities to get down the field.
Virginia Tech: LB Keli Lawson. The redshirt sophomore has been one of the few bright spots for the Hokies during a difficult start. Lawson has racked up double-digit tackles in each of the last three games and made the second interception of his career last week against Marshall.
FACTS & FIGURES
Pitt has won the last three meetings between the schools, and four of the last five. ... Points have been difficult to come by for both teams. Pitt is 12th in the ACC in scoring (24.0 points per game) and the Hokies are 13th (21.4). ... The Panthers are looking to avoid their first 1-4 start since 2005. ... Pitt has questions at quarterback. Phil Jurkovec exited last week’s loss to No. 15 North Carolina in the first half with an undisclosed injury. Backup Christian Veilleux will get the start if Jurkovec can’t go. ... Pitt’s injury-depleted offensive line will have to forge ahead without senior tackle Matt Goncalves, who is out for the season. ... The Hokies have lost nine straight games to Power 5 opponents dating to last season. ... Virginia Tech’s offense has been more productive than just one team in the ACC so far in 2023 — Pitt. ... The Gosnell brothers have been one of the few positives for Virginia Tech’s offense so far. Stephen Gosnell has nine receptions for 133 yards. Younger brother Benji has eight grabs for 96 yards.
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